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Israeli Army Frowns on D&D 984

Big Rob found us a gem of a story about the Israeli Army frowning on D&D players. Apparently '18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance.' I especially enjoyed the pictures of D&D players with swords, as generally the only thing in my hand during D&D is soda and/or swiss cake rolls. I'm thinking that a few generals should meet up with Jack Chick and have a good long discussion about the evils of role playing.
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Israeli Army Frowns on D&D

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  • D&D or LARP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tsanth ( 619234 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:18PM (#11890024)
    Judging from the article, it seems that the IDF is frowning upon LARPers, not D&Ders per se.

    At least, that's what I get from all the pictures and quotations like "[soon] hundreds of fans are expected to meet in a forest in the southern part of Israel for a two-day game of pure fantasy."
  • by bluprint ( 557000 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:28PM (#11890206) Homepage Dungeons and Dragons is the direct precursor to AD&D. It was played with pencil/paper just like AD&D, except with simpler rules, but basically the same. Further, most gamers generically say "D&D", even when really referring to "AD&D".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:30PM (#11890255)
    Wow, do you know a single thing about Israel? Israel is a secular government in a country that happens to have many jews. Many of the prominent figures in the government are jewish, it's even refered to as a jewish state, however the government is very secular. The best proof of this is the numerous Palestinians in Israeli territory (not in the west bank or gaza) who do not complain of religious discrimination of any kind.
    Furthermore, the very religious in Israel tend not to serve in the army (or at least try not to)- these are the people who are the most likely to take issue with the characters in D&D (and even then, it's not likely)
  • Re:Roll the dice... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:33PM (#11890287)
    Don't forget retards!

    (yes, Hamas and al Qaeda are both guilty of this)
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:41PM (#11890446) Journal
    I you want the rules, minus the character creation and some of the names of the items/spells/creatures, you can go to and download the 3.5 Edition SRD for no charge.

  • YHBT. YHL. FOAD. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:01PM (#11890737) Homepage Journal

    "Ynetnews" is written much like another "news" site I know: an outrageous headline, some carefully omitted facts, and a long enough article so that the majority (read: ADD) of readers get the "facts" the author intended, instead of the actual truth. That truth is buried at the bottom (probably to avoid litigation due to libel) of the article, natch.

    According to the actual facts, if you say you play D&D (not "D and D," dumbass), you are "evaluated." Note that evaluation is not always performed by a Psychologist, ("usually" != always). And then

    More than half of the soldiers sent for evaluation receive low security clearances ~.

    Note that they didn't say that the people who are evaluated are only the ones who admit to playing D&D; surely there are other reasons that could make one eligible for "evaluation." In fact, they could have ONLY ONE GUY who admitted to playing D&D, got evaluated and received a low security clearance, and their entire article could be true.

    One last thing: a real news site's editors would stamp out something like

    Most soldiers who play Dungeons and Dragons simply do not admit to it while they are in teh [sic] army, he says.

    So my guess is "Ynetnews" subscribes to the same story editing that /. does: queue's getting big, this one sounds good, post it, is it a dupe? who cares; just pass the gin 'n' juice.

  • by CSMastermind ( 847625 ) <> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:02PM (#11890757)
    Oringinally Posted by: Reducer2001
    Why are you joining the Marines? If you think you're 'different' and 'very smart', then you're probably going to have a very difficult 4+ years....

    I'm not all that different and I'm not even going to say I'm smart. As for why I'm going into the Marines? There's alot of reasons.

    One, I think it will be good for me. I'm a high school senior, varsity soccer player, and all and all what you would call a computer nerd. I'm not that strong physically, nor do I pretend to know my way around firearms. When I'm in the Marines I have a feeling that will change.

    Two, they're paying for my college. I'm a reservist for 4 years and then active duty for the next for. While in the reserves the Marines will pay for me to go to college (I've been accepted into Carnegie Mellon and Case Western but I haven't chosen yet).

    Thrid? Because for 18 years of my life I really haven't done anything to protect the freedom that I'm lucky enough to have. Throughout history fellow Americans have sacrificed and even given their lives to protect this country. I felt it was my time to do something.
  • Re:SCA, not D&D (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ioldanach ( 88584 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:03PM (#11890784)
    Those pictures look like they're of a meeting of the Society for Creative Anachronism, or some other group of similar ilk

    They don't look like the SCA, actually. The armor requirements in SCA are fairly strict, and they shouldn't be playing without head protection. The morning star in one picture is not SCA-legal, as it is an entangling weapon. The weapons pictured appear to be of the foam-covered type, which the SCA does use in its youth combat program, however as I said, other factors preclude this. (Adult combat uses rattan, a spongy type of wood also seen in some furniture.)

    Since they name D&D regularly in the article, the players probably referred to themselves that way, though they're actually doing a LARP variant of D&D.

  • by Aeonite ( 263338 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:11PM (#11890909) Homepage
    The D&D and AD&D split happened when Gygax and Arneson couldn't agree on a royalty dispute. AD&D and D&D became separate rule sets. AD&D then became AD&D 2nd Edition. And when it came time for a new edition, they looked at the name and decided to drop the 'Advanced' and just call it D&D 3rd Edition, since all those old disputes had long since been worked out. And now, of course, it's 3.5.

    So D&D begat AD&D begat AD&D 2nd Edition begat D&D 3rd Edition, which is really AD&D 3rd Edition, sorta kinda.

    So D&D is not just the precursor any more. The name has come full circle.
  • Re:D&D or LARP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by nidarus ( 240160 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:20PM (#11891038)
    Actually, it's the fault of the people who translated the original (Hebrew) article. The original piece mentioned RD&D, or "Real D&D", which is a general Israeli term for LARPs.
  • by nidarus ( 240160 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:23PM (#11891095)
    I have no idea if it's just a bad translation, or if they just really have no clue that there are other fantasy role playing games other than Dungeons and Dragons, so they're using it as a generic term.
    Both, more or less. Israelis often use the term RD&D to describe LARPs, and the translators decided to drop the "R".
  • by proind ( 837269 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:46PM (#11891376)
    The article (at least the original one in Hebrew) doesn't talk about D&D but about LARPing (apparently it was mistranslated). Also these people are not automatically discarded but go through a psychological evaluation to decide whether they might pose a problem. The article mentions that about 50% of these people don't receive a security clearance, which means that 50% of them do get it. The problem with the other 50% being that they have trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy (this decided after a thorough psychological evaluation and not just because the army doesn't like the games they play). Obviously the IDF believes that LARPing might be a symptom of a psychological problem but not necessarily the problem itself.
  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:02PM (#11891596) Homepage
    "Your description fits the old Soviet military, but not ours."

    Simply not true. Our army and the soviet's army have a lot more in common than you think.

    Hey, I'm not saying that the Red Army had a single strategy of "send wave after wave of cannon fodder until the enemy collapses" (though they did use this tactic on occasion in WW2). All I'm saying is that the Red Army did not value the same degree of "individual initiative" the US Army does. The fact of the matter is that the Red Army expected the officers and mid- to senior-grade NCOs to direct the actions of the privates and junior NCOs, and they were expected to obey. This is basically true of any army, but the Red Army took it to the extreme that (say) if their officers were killed, a motorized rifle platoon would often be at a loss to continue until they could get the company commander to assign an officer to them to relay orders. The divide between the "head" and the "body" was a lot wider, mostly because the filled the lower ranks with conscripts fulfilling their compulsory service.

    Ask the Nazi's what they thought of the soviet army.

    The Nazi high command mostly thought they were crazy hordes of untrained peasants, and that whatever skill they appeared to have in night fighting or camouflage was due to the "natural cunning of the slav" rather than training. Their asessment was, naturally, in error. My grandfather, a private in the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad, did not concur with this sentiment.

  • by Caiwyn ( 120510 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:11PM (#11891704)
    From the article:

    Ynetnews has learned that 18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance.

    Then, later:

    "One of the tests we do, either by asking soldiers directly or through information provided us, is to ask whether they take part in the game," he says. "If a soldier answers in the affirmative, he is sent to a professional for an evaluation, usually a psychologist."

    More than half of the soldiers sent for evaluation receive low security clearances, thus preventing them from serving in sensitive IDF positions, he says.

    Half of the soldiers being given low security clearances after being sent for psychological evaluation isn't the same thing as "automatic." Which one is it, Ynet?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:18PM (#11891812)
    The Palestinian's "speck of land" is really to the east. It's called Jordan

    Yes. Lets just brush aside that you're calling for ethnic cleansing of millions of people from their homes because you've ordained that they should live in Jordan just because they're the same race.

    The Israelis have offered large chunks

    The old "Barak's Generous Offer" [] myth rears its ugly head again. Here's a map that really drives its generosity home [].

    Now can we get back to discussing role playing and whether or not that makes you a security risk?
  • by drxenos ( 573895 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:19PM (#11891824)
    AD&D wasn't just another book. It was an entire line of rulebooks. AD&D was derived from D&D, but had more complicated rules and options. The main different I remember is that in D&D character races were also classes (you played an Elf class). With AD&D, the were separate (You could play an Elf whose is of the fighter class). When WoTC bought TSR and created the 3rd edition, they dropped the advanced from the name. I have pretty much every rulebook since the original "whitebox" and can readily see firsthand D&D's changes throughout the years.
  • by jobcello ( 856541 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:31PM (#11891961)
    Chinese and many other civilizations have flood stories.
    Check out what wikipedia has on it:'s_Ark []
    Truth is stranger than fiction.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by M1FCJ ( 586251 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:50PM (#11892262) Homepage
    Erm, you don't join to the Israeli army, you get drafted in. It's not a matter of they want you or not, if you live in Israel and a Jew, you will end up in the army and will keep rank and title for the rest of your life, as a reserve.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:50PM (#11892268)
    We haven't lost; the President told us "Mission accomplished".

    He was talking about Vietnam. You know during a draft when any man who had all his limbs and could be shown which end the bullet came out was considered "military material". With a volunetary military you can at least reject the real idiots.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:53PM (#11892319)
    Sorry, I disagree.

    While discipline IS essential, absolute discipline is not. Possibly the most important thing for an elite unit is being smart and adaptable. If you receive an order to destroy an enemy observation post so a surprise attack can occur, but find a machine gun nest with a good field of fire, it may be more important to destroy that first. You need to be smart to realize that is more important, and adaptable to change your plans to cope with it. If you blindly follow your orders, more people are going to die.

    Smart + Adaptable > absolute discipline

    If absolute discipline were all that was required of an elite unit, why would intelligence be a requirement for those elite units? Want to join the SEALs, Marine Force Recon, FAST Battalion or Green Berets? You better be able to score well on general intelligence tests and on practical tests within your field. If discipline was the be-all end-all of elite units then they would be full of people who couldn't think their way out of a wet paper bag.

    BTW - While I was at the SEAL training facility in Virginia, they didn't worry about polished boots. They didn't worry about having their utilities pressed. They didn't worry about their appearance. They worried about what their job was and how to be ready for it.

    I played D&D, AD&D, Top Secret, Gamma World, Boot Hill, Top Secret SI and Robotech. I also MUDed way too many hours.

    I was also a Marine Rifleman. I served with the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) Co. Have achievement medals from the Marines and the Army (Joint Operation). Was a squad leader and a platoon sergeant and a company gunnery sergeant; and I wanted people who could think on their own in my squad/platoon/company.

    Also, the Marines doctrine was based on mission accomplishment and not absolute discipline. So your statement of "all military doctrine" kind of goes out the window.
  • Not automatic (Score:2, Informative)

    by slasho81 ( 455509 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:40PM (#11892976)
    As for the IDF automatically lowering RPG-ers security clearances,

    RTFA. The IDF does not automatically lowers the security clearance of recruits who proclaim they play D&D. These recruits are sent to a psychological evaluation. More than half of these are found to have psychological traits that are not wanted in high security clearance positions.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:2, Informative)

    by Swamii ( 594522 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @06:01PM (#11893947) Homepage
    Wow, your post is ignorant on so many levels, where do I begin..

    For starters, Jews don't believe in a hell. In Scripture God lays out some foods that are healthy and others that are unhealthy. If we break that law, we are not going to the lakes of burning brimstone; your Christian religionist leaders invented that one.

    Perhaps coincidentally, virtually all the unhealthy foods God mentions are all scientifically proven as unhealthy. A vast majority of the dietary laws are against the eating of scavengers, vultures, bottom-feeders; food that has proven to be unhealthy for humans to eat. There are a few (such as pig) that people eat today, but perhaps the modern farm-raised pigs of today are different from the wild pigs of Biblical times.

    Chewing the cud: read about it in a science book. It's a way animals, such as cows, digest plants in the most efficient way nature can get them, by regurgitating the food and chewing it, breaking it down so the body can extract more nutrients. It's really an amazing part of nature. And despite biblical man's lack of scientific knowledge, we now know that most animals that chew the cud are indeed healthy for humans to consume because of the science behind chewing the cud.
  • Actually.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by slashmojo ( 818930 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @06:21PM (#11894176)
    if you live in Israel and a Jew, you will end up in the army

    Actually you don't have to be jewish to get drafted into the israeli army, you just have to be an israeli citizen.. there are in fact besides jews also arabs, druze, bedouin, moslems, christians and even vietnamese in the israeli army!

  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @06:25PM (#11894214) Journal
    The more modern the army, the more the private needs to think. We discovered in Iraq that a sergeant in our army has as much authority and decision-making responsibility as a colonel in the region, and a private as much as an officer.

    Don't confuse discipline - respecting the authority of the chain of command and military custom - with lack of initiative. The modern military prizes initiative: complete the objective you're assigned without complaint, but think of the best way to do so based on your training and experience. To quote a marine sergeant writing a summary of action in Fallujah: []

    All Marines must exercise initiative during combat. Squad leaders must design training techniques in order to stress initiative. Marines must be able to look around, assess what his squad or partner is doing, feed off it, and act in order to support them. Initiative based training is paramount.

    And also:

    Being a good combat leader sometimes means stepping back and allowing the Marines to do their jobs. Platoon commanders must allow squad leaders to lead their squads, squad leaders must allow element leaders to lead their elements, and element leaders must allow their Marines to take initiative.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @06:48PM (#11894459)
    Part of it has to do with lack of refrigeration.

    Pork doesn't keep very well in hot Israeli climates. Also, salting meat (to remove blood) helps preserve it.

    Furthermore, pigs spread disease. The flu, for example, usually evolves in bird populations, but usually can't be transmitted from birds to humans. It can, however, be passed from birds to pigs, and then a pig with a flu virus can pass it to humans.

    So, if there were no pig farming, we probably would not need to bother with flu shots every year.

    (For the record: I'm not Jewish, just interested in the history of Hebrew law. It is one of the half-dozen-or-so oldest sets of laws we have on record, after all.)

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